Jul 23

Hub Theatre’s Shakespeare Crowd-Pleaser: “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)”

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Presented by Hub Theatre Company of Boston
by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield
Directed by Lauren Elias

July 18 – August 2, 2014
Club Café
209 Columbus Ave
Boston, MA

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) The working hypothesis for The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) appears to be this: when at his most serious, the Bard is the most unintentionally hilarious. It’s darkly comic, in a way, that a pair of lovers would die passionately together despite knowing each other for a few days. And there’s something ridiculous about a prince putting off the assassination of the uncle who stole his crown because he doesn’t believe the ghost of his father. In Hub Theatre Company’s take on the parody, Patrick Curran, Adam Lauver (alternating with Will Moore), and Brooks Reeves seek to both compress and skewer Shakespeare’s body of work. Continue reading

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Jun 16

Dancing Wilde(ly) with Boston Actors Theater

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Photo from BAT facebook page

Presented by Boston Actors Theater
Adapted by Elizabeth DuPré and Nicole Howard
Directed and Choreographed by Danielle Lucas

Playing June 13th – June 28th
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
Boston, MA
BAT on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

One of the very best and worst things about Oscar Wilde is that his reputation proceeds him. His piercing one-liners and scathing insults are quoted extensively in speeches, jokes, and birthday cards. Wilde’s private life is largely viewed as decadent, however factual that is. Because of this, it’s surprising that the fairy tales he wrote during his career, in sharp contrast to his perceived debauchery, are syrupy and Victorian. Boston Actors Theater attempts to marry the brevity and wit of Wilde’s legacy with the softer side of his stories for children and the result, while enthusiastic, is uneasy. Continue reading

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Jun 09

War Wounds and “Widows”: Ariel Dorfman Reading

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Presented by Flat Earth Theatre and Open Theatre Project
By Ariel Dorfman
Directed by Lindsay Eagle

Saturday, Jun 7, 2014 8PM
The Democracy Center
45 Mt Auburn Street
Cambridge, MA
Flat Earth on Facebook
OTP on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge) In one of Widows most wrenching scenes, Fidelia Fuentes (Mariagrazia LaFauci) struggles to figure out how to tell the story of her father’s disappearance. She starts by talking about a bird, then starts again by describing how soldiers kicked down the front door, and then talks about flying. The narrative spins and, it seems, so does she. With each false start, Fidelia tries to find the language that will successfully communicate her anxiety. She can’t, however, certainly not within a country under a lethal dictatorship. Her narrative has been compromised. Continue reading

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Jun 02

“The Trouble with Tribbles” Seeks Out New Life in Classic Star Trek Episode

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The Trouble with Tribbles
Presented by PMRP
Episode written by David Gerrold
Adapted and directed by Mindy Klenoff

 

Foley by Brad Smith

May 29 – 31, 2014
Unity Somerville
6 William St.
Somerville, MA
PMRP onFacebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Somerville) In her guest of honor speech at feminist sci-fi convention Wiscon, author N.K. Jemisin addressed the current social changes in the genre.  Prominent fans and writers in recent years have worked to promote more diverse stories in a field that most have believed to be largely dominated by white, heterosexual men.  “Go to sources of additional knowledge for fresh ammunition–” she advises those interested in broadening sci-fi and fantasy “–histories and analyses of the genre by people who see beyond the status quo, our genre elders, new sources of knowledge like ‘revisionist’ scholarship instead of the bullshit we all learned in school.” In this vein, The Post-Meridian Radio Players’ gender-swapped adaptation of The Trouble with Tribbles is not just a cute comedy but a revisionist take on one of sci-fi culture’s most beloved touchstones. Continue reading

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Jun 02

Over-the-Top Big Top: Cirque du Soleil’s “Amaluna”

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Presented by Cirque du Soleil
Created by Guy Laliberté, Gilles Ste-Croix, Fernand Rainville
Directed by Diane Paulus
Composed and music directed by Bob & Bill (Guy Dubuc and Marc Lessard)
Choreographed by Karole Armitage
Acrobatic choreographers Debra Brown & Caitlan Maggs
“Sanddornbalance” Act by Rigolo Swiss Nouveau Cirque

May 30 – July 6, 2014
Boston Marine Industrial Park on the Waterfront
Boston, MA
Amaluna on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

Lightly adapting the The Tempest and playing fast and loose with source materials of multiples mythologies, Amaluna patches together dreamy images and circus acts into one, outlandish show. It’s energetic and fittingly over-the-top. Cirque du Soleil has an image to maintain as a thoroughly extravagant circus and they continue this grand tradition by marrying the flashiness of Las Vegas to a syrupy storyline. Continue reading

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May 06

Laughter, Landmines, and an Historical Sitcom Fit for the Stage

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Presented by Theatre on Fire
By Richard Curtis and Ben Elton
Directed by Darren Evans

April 26 – May 11, 2014
Charlestown Working Theater
Charlestown, MA
Theatre on Fire Facebook Page

Review by Gillian Daniels

Back in 1989, Blackadder Goes Forth aired on the BBC as a spectacular, grim comedy that lampooned World War I. The creators, Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, also worked on previous installments in the series, including the Elizabethan Blackadder II and the Regency-centric Blackadder the Third. Each new storyline used the same actors, particularly Rowan Atkinson, Tony Robinson, and Hugh Laurie, and pitted them against historical figures (Queen Elizabeth! Prince George!) and fart jokes. With director Darren Evans at the helm, Theatre on Fire works tirelessly to bring television to stage. For the most part, the humor translates beautifully. Continue reading

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Apr 14

Kickstarter for Geek Theater: Anthology of Science Fiction and Fantasy Plays

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Listing by Gillian Daniels

I first met Erin Underwood during our involvement in planning one of New England’s most prominent science fiction conventions, Boskone.  She impressed me not only with her editorial prowess—she had recently put together a short story collection of young adult science fiction with Hannah Strom-Martin through Underwords Press, Futuredaze—but her vibrancy and enthusiasm.  A local to the Boston area, Erin struck me with her openness to new challenges and genre fiction projects.  It was a pleasure to work with her and I have tried to keep tabs on her ongoing endeavors ever since. Continue reading

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Apr 14

Three Days of (Bittersweet) Rain

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Presented by Hub Theatre Company of Boston
By Richard Greenberg
Directed by Daniel Bourque

April 4-19, 2014
First Church in Boston
66 Marlborough Street
Boston, MA 02116
Hub Theatre Co on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) In Hub Theatre’s production of Three Days of Rain, audiences are gently tricked.  We are initially introduced to a family melodrama that takes place in 1995. Walker (John Geoffrion) comes to terms with his father’s death in the rundown apartment the man shared with his business partner during the sixties.  Stubborn and volatile, Walker doesn’t appear to have a great relationship with his sister, the “sane” Nan (Marty Seeger Mason), who takes him to the reading of their famous architect father’s will. They are joined by the son of his late business partner, Pip (Tim Hoover), a kind but not terribly bright soap opera actor.  With the reading of the will, the peace between the three of them deteriorates and their complex bond reforms.  So far, this is a story of despair, but it’s also just its maudlin surface. Continue reading

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Apr 10

“Far Away” is Close to Home

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Presented by Whistler in the Dark
by Caryl Churchill
Directed by Meg Taintor

April 3-19, 2014
The Charlestown Working Theatre
Charlestown, MA
Whistler on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

One of the most terrifying things about dictatorships, dystopias, and police states are how they turn what is savage and ridiculous into what is mundane and even acceptable.  Blood doesn’t flow on stage at any point during Whistler in the Dark’s production of Far Away.  No one pulls out a gun or stabs another character to prove a point.  With the power of playwright Caryl Churchill’s words and Meg Taintor’s direction, they don’t need to. Fear  lay heavily over the show already; we don’t need any clearer sign things are uncertain and wrong. Continue reading

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Mar 31

Playful Rendering of Moliere’s “Lovers’ Quarrels”

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Displaying CarouselFullCast.jpg

Photo credit: Roger Metcalf

Presented by imaginary beasts
By Molière
Directed by Matthew Woods
Translation by Richard Wilbur

March 28 – April 19, 2014
At the Plaza Black Box Theatre
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston MA
imaginary beasts on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) imaginary beasts’ production of Lovers’ Quarrels is less concerned with emotional authenticity than the beauty of its artifice.  The 17th century romantic comedy is not exactly a work of realism, and thankfully, is not treated as such.  Its plot hinges on a girl who has been raised as a boy, Ascagne (Lynn R. Guerra), tricking a young man she likes, Valère (Will Jobs), into marriage by pretending to be her extremely feminine sister, Lucile (Erin Eva Butcher). imaginary beasts presents this material with all the seriousness it deserves, creating an innocent, funny romp through improbable obstacles. Continue reading

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